"I want paintings to come off the wall, to radiate optical force, to radiate light"
Balancing precision in form and composition with a sense of nature’s wild beauty, John Evans’s paintings capture the feel of physical and psychological immersion in a landscape. His quiet scenes are infused with an invisible human perspective, an intelligent eye that organizes the view while taking in its infinitely rich colors and textures. Evans has characterized his paintings as “ultimately spiritual,” as “theaters that invite meditation.” His work opens a window into a parallel reality and invites us to enter.
An ARTnews review describes the surfaces of Evans’s paintings as resembling “raw silk”—an effect achieved by a continual building up and scraping away of oil paint. As he works, each canvas takes on a life of its own, with inspirations branching off one another organically. “You set something in motion,” he says, “and over time it begins to tell you what it needs.” The paintings are not snapshots, but rather collages of moments, often combining different qualities of light and times of day.
Based in the Northeast, the setting for many of his landscapes and seascapes (though recent work finds him in the West), Evans earned his MFA in 1979 from Boston University, where he studied with Phillip Guston. He has exhibited at museums and galleries across the U.S., received reviews in publications including Art in America, and is in the collections of the National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, among others.